Every summer in the fields surrounding the barn where Kevin and I keep our horses are bushes and bushes of raspberries and blackberries. Why go to berry farms and pay to pick berries when I can get berries for free right on the cross country course?
I really couldn't wait to pick enough to make a special dessert from them. When you pick your own berries in the wild, it's truly homemade.
Let's start with the raspberries. Raspberries are a fairly cooperative fruit. They grow close to the trails. All of the berries on the bush tend to emerge from their little pods around the same time, so you can get a decent harvest from one bush.
The only problem is that not every bush is fruitful at the at same time. In summers past I always tried to set aside just one day for berry picking and never found enough berries, because not all of the bushes were ripe. I solved this problem by simply picking as many berries as I could one weekend, freezing that batch, and then picking another batch the next weekend. It worked quite well for me and I had a decent number of berries before the season ended.
So what to do with them? I'm still trying to bribe my new coworkers into being friends with me in my NYC office, so I still want to bake them stuff. It was a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
The recipe I chose was Raspberry Almond Cake from Cookie Pie. It's a great blog with all kinds of simple baking ideas (Beth is the author of You Made That Dessert? after all. She knows that homemade doesn't have to mean complicated.) Raspberries and almonds are so good together and I love almond cakes.
This cake was just really good. It had simple flavors, wasn't too sweet, and was super-easy to make. The hardest part was not eating the entire tube of almond paste prior to baking it. Creaming almond paste is a bit of a challenge too, but hardly an impediment to creating the dessert.
The cake did take a little longer to bake than the recipe called for. I baked it around 50 minutes. I don't know if it had to do with the fact that I put a lot of berries in it. I had so many and I just wanted to use them all. My berries were rather tart, as wild berries tend to be less sweet than cultivated ones, but it worked well in the cake. The cake had the perfect amount of sweetness.
Did it make friends? Sadly, I still haven't won too many people over. It was gone by the end of the day, but only 4 people thanked me or told me it was good. I have to keep working at this!